More than 10 years after a young Maple Ridge woman’s ruthless so-called honour killing, her husband is desperately waiting in India for the day justice is served — if it ever comes.
Jassi Sidhu, 25, was found slain in a canal in India in June 2000 while she was visiting the country in an attempt to bring her husband, Sukhwinder (Mithu) Sidhu home to Canada.
Indian authorities allege Sidhu was the victim of an honour killing 13 years ago planned in Canada by her mother Malkit Sidhu and uncle Surjit Badesha, because they disapproved of her rickshaw-driver husband.
The accused pair were arrested in Canada in January and are currently undergoing an extradition hearing in B.C. Supreme Court, where they face extradition to India to be tried on charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
Still grieving his wife’s death, Mithu can no longer bear being so painfully far from the trial, where he’s left to merely follow the headlines in order to stay updated.
“I am waiting for the day when Jassi’s mother and uncle are extradited to India to face trial here,” Mithu told Vancouver Desi from India. “I now wonder if it will happen in my lifetime.”
Mithu can still vividly recall “that fateful evening” on June 8, 2000, when he and his wife were attacked by a group of men — Mithu beaten badly and left “presumed dead,” Sidhu abducted, only to be found the next day, her throat slit.
The extradition hearing, underway in B.C. Supreme Court, has called forward five local witnesses, many of whom worked with Sidhu at a Coquitlam beauty salon and agreed the young woman feared for her life after her family found out about her marriage.
Mithu wishes he too could testify to further bolster the case. But although he’s tried to come to Canada for the court proceedings, he cannot get through Immigration, he said.
“A false impression is made that my motive was to migrate to Canada, all the while I was with Jassi and later also,” he said, insisting it’s simply not the case.
While the Department of Justice declined comment, according to Surrey lawyer, Amandeep Singh (who is familiar with the case), there is no need for Mithu to travel overseas for the hearing.
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“It’s not a trial . . . the threshold to order extradition is fairly low,” Singh said, further explaining that Crown only called forward the local witnesses because their evidence was gathered in Canada.
Mithu’s evidence has already been collected and recorded by Indian officials, which has since been sent to B.C. Supreme Court and due to the diplomatic relationship between the two countries, as long as the affidavits and evidence are “available and reliable,” the Indian documents are all the judge needs to make a ruling, said Singh.
“The Prosecutor won’t usually go to the expense of bringing a witness overseas,” he said. “(There’s) no reason to go to the expense and bureaucratic hurdle.”
So Mithu is left to anxiously await justice, hoping his wife’s alleged killers will eventually face trial in India, where Mithu will testify.
Meanwhile, in the 13 years since Sidhu’s brutal murder, Mithu, who admits he frequently changes his address out of fear for his life, has refused to remarry.
“I am wedded to Jassi, even so many years after her death,” said the emotional and heartbroken widower.
The extradition hearing continues and is scheduled to resume October 21.